By TOMMY BRYAN
Squeezing out one more victory means a trip to the promised land -- Cookeville and the 2011 BlueCross Bowl -- for the winners in tonights TSSAA football semifinal games.
A pair of 13-0 teams will square off tonight in Mt. Juliet as the Golden Bears will host Memphis Whitehaven in the Class 6A playoffs.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Live radio coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on WANT FM-98.9 and on the Internet at www.gocumberlandathletics.com.
Whitehaven is on quite a roll, having won 25 of the past 26 football games going back to last season. The Tigers lost 10-7 to Smyrna in the 2010 semifinal game and was one of four No. 1 seeds to reach the TSSAA semifinals in the Class 6A division.
Last week, Whitehaven extended its season with a 31-14 victory over rival White Station.
"Whitehaven is the best team out of Memphis, and that says a lot," said MJ coach Roger Perry. "From what I've seen on film, they are a very solid football team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They've got a really good 1-2 punch at tailback and quarterback -- certainly the fastest team we've played this season."
Of course, one of the other top seeds is Mt. Juliet.The Bearsderailed an inspired Brentwood High team last week 34-21 -- rolling up 379 yards in total offense and 17 first downs. Mt. Juliet must avoid another penalty-plagued game as last week the Bears were flagged 11 times for 114 yards.
Friendship Christian, fresh from a nail-biting 21-20 overtime win at Boyd Buchanan last week, the Commanders will try to win a third straight Class 2A playoff game on the road at 9-4 Oliver Springs in Roane County. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST.
Coach John McNeals 10-3 team is back in the semifinals for the first time since the 2006 season while OSH has reached the final four for the first time in the programs history.
Many observers feel the Commanders are now playing with house money after Brennan Swindolls fourth down scramble was ruled a touchdown last week vs. Boyd Buchanan.
Oliver Springs advanced with a 20-10 victory over Oneida. A trip to the semifinals seemed nearly impossible just over a month ago, as the Bobcats stood at 4-4 on the season following a 45-19 loss at the hands of Sunbright.
But since that game, OSH is 5-0 -- outscoring their opponents 178-58.